The Dietetics team at Newcastle Hospitals is getting behind Nutrition and Hydration Week, which runs from 14-20 March 2022. Here Mary Mahon, Lead Specialist Catering Dietitian and Specialist Surgical Dietitian, talks about how the team are supporting staff and offers some advice on food facts vs food fads.
“I love working as a dietitian because I get to work with so many different people. I’m also really lucky to have a unique role at Newcastle Hospitals – which splits between providing specialist nutritional support for patients on surgical wards and working closely with catering to improve links between dietetics, catering and the ward teams. One of our top priorities is to review and update our current hospital menu provision for both patients and staff, as well as the delivery of nutritional education and training to catering staff.
“Nutrition and Hydration Week is aimed at highlighting, promoting and celebrating improvements in the provision of nutrition – locally, nationally and globally. Its purpose is to bring people together to create energy, focus and fun in order to highlight and educate people on the value of food and drink in maintaining wellbeing in health and social care.
“So this year for Nutrition and Hydration Week we have created information boards at the Freeman Restaurant and RVI Bistro – packed with hints and tips on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and wellbeing. As staff food outlets, they act as a hub in bringing people together and connecting people at mealtimes so we hoped these areas would get appropriate footfall. Our message promotes balance through a visual representation of the Eat Well Guide as well as top tips covering the basics of healthy eating and how to make healthier choices.
“Another highlight of every Nutrition and Hydration Week is the Global Tea Party and all wards have been invited to take part by hosting their own tea parties supported by our great catering teams. This is a fantastic way to bring people together and create some joy and fun.
“It is no secret that there is a lot of information about nutrition in the media and some of it can be misleading. This can mean people follow advice which doesn’t have the best nutritional research behind it or can become worried about how confusing some messages can be.
“My advice is to firstly focus on drinking plenty of water – because 70% of your body is made up of water, therefore it is essential you drink enough to keep your body working well. Water makes up your blood, it keeps your heart pumping, and your brain working.
“Eating well is living well. Our bodies need a balance of different foods and nutrients in the right proportions to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. This can reduce the risk of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Healthy eating is about enjoying your food, at the same time as being mindful about what you eat.
“Over the course of the week, please pop along and visit one of display stands at the Freeman restaurant and staff bistro in the RVI, dedicated to offering advice on better nutrition and hydration.
“Alternatively, a great place to find trustworthy advice on both nutrition and hydration can be found on the BDA (British Dietetic Association) food facts: https://www.bda.uk.com/food-health/food-facts.html “